WestJet announced (07-Nov-2012) the appointment of Ferio Pugliese as CEO of WestJet Encore, effective immediately. Mr Pugliese previously served WestJet as EVP people, culture and inflight services. WestJet president and CEO Gregg Saretsky separately stated (07-Nov-2012) the launch of WestJet Encore remains on track for 2H2013. The initial flight schedule is expected to be released in early 2013 which will include the first group of new communities the new airline plans to serve. Calgary has been selected as the head office location for the new airline. Commenting on the launch, Mr Saretsky said, "Our strong brand epitomizes the very principles upon which WestJet was founded. This includes a low-cost focus and a caring guest experience which will be embodied in WestJet Encore. We are excited to bring even more Canadians access to lower fares, stimulate demand for air travel in smaller communities and repeat our success in the regional space." [more – original PR] [more - original PR - executive appointment]
WestJet Encore launch ontrack for 2H2013, appoints CEO
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Both airlines are beginning 2017 with higher valuations as Canada’s economic growth should settle towards 2% in 2017. Although the country’s economic growth forecast is not stellar, it is at least stable. Canada’s province of Alberta is climbing out of a recession after the region’s economic weakness had created challenges for Canadian airlines during the last year.
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WestJet prepares to lock in unit revenue growth to outpace cost inflation in 2017
Canada’s second largest airline WestJet believes it can attain a positive unit revenue result in 1Q2017, joining many other North American airlines in outlining specific timeframes for the reversal of negative trends. Unlike performance of most airlines in the region that are predicting sequential improvements from 3Q2016 to 4Q2016, WestJet’s performance will worsen during the last three months of 2016. The factors driving WestJet’s deeper unit revenue decreases include timing of the year-end holidays, competitive capacity pressure in warm weather markets, and fare matching of the start-up competitor ULCC NewLeaf.
Although WestJet believes it will make an important turn in its unit revenue performance in early 2017, it faces some cost inflation for the full year as it adds a larger number of smaller Bombardier Q400 turboprops, which have higher operating costs but in fact also help drive bottom line profitability. Although at this point WestJet cannot forecast its unit revenue performance for FY2017, its goal is to post unit revenue growth that outpaces unit cost increases.